Toxicology Section News—Recapping our 71st Annual Meeting in Baltimore

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Source: William R. Johnson, BA, Section Chair

It is difficult to believe that two months have passed since our incredibly successful 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting in Baltimore, MD. We extend our sincerest thanks to all of the AAFS Toxicology Section Officers, Chairs, Co-Chairs, Abstract Reviewers, Moderators, and Volunteers for their efforts. We’re also grateful for all the financial support we received from our wonderful, generous vendors and financial sponsors. Great meetings are impossible without the dedication of so many individuals!

Our section made significant contributions to the overall 2019 AAFS program, including the workshop chaired by Alex J. Krotulski and Barry K. Logan on “Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) Surveillance, Detection, and Intelligence for Use by Forensic Laboratories, Public Health, and Public Safety,” the workshop chaired by Marilyn A. Huestis and Philip M. Kemp on “The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB): Understanding and Preventing Impairment in Transportation,” and the workshop chaired by Robert Kronstrand and Nikolas P. Lemos on “Ethanol in Forensic Casework: Strategies for Analysis and Interpretation.”

On Tuesday, George F. Jackson and Ashraf Mozayani represented the Toxicology Section at the Student Academy program and described to local area high school students how forensic toxicology can be crucial in the administration of justice.

On Wednesday, we held our section’s annual luncheon during which Marilyn Huestis surprised Michael (Mick) L. Smith as one of our section’s most respected members with an emotional peer recognition, sharing many photographs capturing his evolving career and travel destinations. Immediately after the luncheon, we held the Toxicology Section Business Meeting during which we elected William (Bill) Johnson as 2019–2020 Toxicology Section Chair and Sherri L. Kacinko as 2019–2020 Toxicology Section Secretary. Sabra R. Botch-Jones and Laureen J. Marinetti were appointed as 2020 Toxicology Section Program Chair and Program Co-Chair, respectively.

During the Business Meeting, we also presented this year’s Toxicology Section awards:

  • Ruth E. Winecker was awarded the Rolla N. Harger Award
  • Amanda L.A. Mohr was awarded the Irving Sunshine Award
  • Courtney K. McGowan was awarded a June K. Jones Scholarship

This year’s scientific program was organized by Sherri Kacinko and Sabra Botch-Jones. It started early on Wednesday morning with a Breakfast Seminar titled “The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Responds to the Opioid Crisis.” The program resumed that evening with the presentation of 45 posters on various toxicology topics. Although a difficult decision, our section judges selected the poster presentation by Kaitlyn B. Palmquist and Madeline J. Swortwood titled “Liquid Chromatography/Quadrupole Time-Of-Flight (LC/qTOF) Screening for Fentanyl Analogs in Whole Blood and Oral Fluid” as this year’s winner for Best Toxicology Poster.

Thursday morning saw the return of our annual Toxicology Lecture. Guest speaker Dr. David Kroll gave the insightful, well-received presentation titled “The Path From Pharmacologist/Toxicologist to Medical Journalist.” Thursday’s morning session continued with varied presentations on Drug Trends: Monitoring and Prevalence. Thursday afternoon began with seven platform presentations highlighting drug testing and interpretation and continued with eight presentations on Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) and postmortem toxicology. The annual Toxicology Open Forum concluded Thursday’s program. The session was well-attended and provided lively discussions on many topics of interest to both local and international toxicologists.

Friday morning was dedicated to the joint Pathology/Biology and Toxicology multidisciplinary session on Postmortem Forensic Toxicology and featured 12 platform presentations. Friday afternoon commenced with two parallel Toxicology Sessions: Analytical Methods in Forensic Toxicology and Surveillance in Public Health and Medicolegal Death Investigations (MDI). Concluding this year’s scientific program was our annual Pediatric Postmortem Toxicology session that stayed true to tradition by encouraging audience participation and feedback.

At least two off-site events took place during this year’s annual meeting involving our section membership. On Sunday, February 17, the National Safety Council presented Randall E. Beaty with the 2019 Robert F. Borkenstein Award and on Wednesday evening, the entire Toxicology section membership was treated to a reception by NMS Labs and the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE).

With the conclusion of the 71st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Baltimore, MD, it is time to plan for our 2020 annual meeting in Anaheim, CA, where the chosen theme is “Crossing Borders.”

August 1 is the deadline for our Section’s Awards/Scholarships nominations. Do you have a distinguished colleague or deserving graduate student you would like to recognize? These longstanding awards are a wonderful way to acknowledge our section members’ contributions and dedication to our field. Contact the Chair of the Toxicology Section Awards and Scholarship Committee, Timothy P. Rohrig ( ), with your nominations.

Most importantly, the August 1 abstract deadline may feel far, far away, but now is the time to start planning! Please consider submitting an abstract for a platform and/or poster presentation, and/or to propose a half or whole day workshop, and/or a breakfast or luncheon seminar! And how about serving our Section as an abstract reviewer, a judge, or a moderator? Toxicology Section Program Chair Sabra Botch-Jones is currently assessing membership’s willingness to assist with the program—please follow this link to an online survey to share:

Contact Toxicology Section Program Chair Sabra Botch-Jones ( or Toxicology Section Program Co-Chair Laureen Marinetti ( with additional suggestions or program ideas.

Please consider applying for your own membership promotion within the Academy and encourage others to join our Section, by the October 1 deadline. The names of all Associate Members and Members who apply for promotion within our Section at the 2020 annual meeting will again be entered into a drawing for one complimentary, basic 2021 annual meeting registration.

Mark your calendars now for the AAFS 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting, February 17–22, 2020, in Anaheim, CA, just footsteps away from Disneyland, the “Happiest Place on Earth” and home of the soon-to-open “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”